CH Open Source Awards 2014: Here are the Winners

October 8, 2014

Award Ceremony Oct. 8, 2014 in Berne. Picture: Matthias Stürmer

For several years I have had the honor to have been serving in the jury for the Swiss Open Source Awards. This year the decision was a tough one. Entries were interesting and mature. But the jury had to come to a decision. Today the winners were announced in the context of the Open Source Business Forum in Berne/Switzerland.

The announcement had been made on Twitter pointing to the latest news page on For the convenience of the English readership here an extract from that page in English:

The CH Open Source Awards honor companies, public entities, open source communities and individuals who have acted boldly and innovatively by developing or using open source software in a variety of ways. This year was the first time foreign open source projects were included in the selection process.

On Wednesday, October 8, 2014 the OSS Awards 2014 were awarded as part of the Open Source Business Forum in Berne. This conference brought together computer science experts of Deutsche Telekom, Swiss Re, Swisscom,, Visana, Rieter and other companies discussing how to use Open Source software in a professional environment. Moreover, the renowned Open Invention Network was introduced in Switzerland for the first time. This global industry consortium acquires software patents to Linux and other open source projects to protect from patent trolls. This week the Swiss Open Systems User Group “/ch/open” signed up as a member of the Open Invention Network.

And here are the winners:

OpenELEC is a media center based completely on free software. It is perfect for Home Cinema Systems and Media Center usage. By providing an optimized version for the very low-cost Raspberry Pi hardware OpenELEC became accessible to a wide user community  and has now more than 200,000 active users. Originally a developer from Germany, Stefan Raue has developed ​​a big part of the project from 2007 on in Switzerland. He currently lives and works in Germany. OpenELEC proves that the combination of free software with cheaper, also open hardware has enormous potential.

With Symfony CMF CMS functionality can easily be added to applications that use the popular PHP framework Symfony components. Symfony CMF was established in 2010 on a Hackday at the ETH and is developed by the company Liip AG in Zurich. The project has blossomed into a successful open source project with currently twelve active developers world wide. One of the most prominent users of the platform in Switzerland is the TV station Read the rest of this entry »

BrailleTouch keyboard allows typing on a phone without looking

March 20, 2012

By Ryan Paul | Published about a month ago

Baille keyboard on smartphone

BrailleTouch keyboard allows typing on a phone without looking. Image credit: Georgia Tech

A group of researchers at Georgia Tech have created a new piece of software called BrailleTouch that allows users to type on a smartphone without looking at the screen. It takes advantage of gestures and multi-touch interaction to support a corded typing system that is modeled after Braille keyboards. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Open-Source’ Robotic Surgery Platform

March 20, 2012

From Robotics experts at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Washington (UW) have completed a set of seven advanced robotic surgery systems for use by major medical research laboratories throughout the United States. After a round of final tests, five of the systems will be shipped to medical robotics researchers at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Nebraska, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, while the other two systems will remain at UC Santa Cruz and UW.

“We decided to follow an open-source model, because if all of these labs have a common research platform for doing robotic surgery, the whole field will be able to advance more quickly,” said Jacob Rosen, associate professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz and principal investigator on the project.

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Read the full article here.

Open Systems play a major role in our industrialized society. They allow to break the dependence from one single technology supplier and encourage third parties to add new ideas and innovate.

It is important to see that this is not only happening in Software but also in medical technology as well as in architecture and other areas. Which other important use of Open Systems are you aware of?

OSBF: Opening Clouds

November 9, 2011

Image representing Open Source Business Founda...

Image via CrunchBase

The Open Source Business Foundation e.V., the European network for the Open Source Industry, just launched an “Open Cloud Business Initiative” (OCBI). The goal of the OCBI is to promote the principle of openness, which is responsible for the success of the Open Source Software movement, in the area of the cloud: the future lies in the Open Cloud – especially in a business context.

The Open Source Business Foundation eV (OSBF) lays out the following six principles under their “Open Cloud Future Initiative”: Read the rest of this entry »

Can We Trust Open Source Software?

October 19, 2011

Vieri del Bianco, Luigi Lavazza, Sandro Morasca, and Davide Taibi published a survey on Open Software Trustworthiness.

Conceptual Map of the FLOSS (Free/Libre Open S...

Image via Wikipedia

Computing Now | October 2011 | What’s New | A Survey on Open Source Software Trustworthiness.

They write:

“Over the past few years, users in many sectors have increasingly adapted open source software (OSS) products. No longer the product of lone coders, industrial-strength OSS is often developed by organized communities and sometimes even by major software companies applying the same rigorous processes and high-quality standards they use when developing their commercial products. However, many software companies and users alike are still somewhat reluctant to massively adopt OSS in their mainstream activities, primarily because they’re unsure if and to what extent they can actually trust OSS. Trust must be built, and, as with any offering, OSS products would probably be more easily trusted when their claims are backed by reliable evidence.”


Having been for 13 years one of the public spokespersons of Sun Microsystems, the company that contributed most code to the Open Source Community in the industry,  I gave hundreds of presentations at conferences and at customer sites on “Open Source–Open Systems–Open Standards” (you can look at an example presentation here) and I still believe that this is a powerful and more sustainable model for software creation.

Do you think that the people surveyed were overly optimistic? Overly pessimistic?

Or should we ask: Can we trust closed systems and proprietary software?